How should I begin my essay? Can I say " My essay is about..."

Expert Answers
carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essay should never refer to itself.  The essay should begin with a well-developed introduction.  The introduction serves several purposes for the essay. 

The most crucial part of your essay is the introduction: it can tell readers how well your thoughts are put together, how well organized your entire essay is, and how well you write

1st purpose of introduction

It gains the attention of the audience by using one of the following tactics:

  • An interesting related anecdote
  • An related quotation by someone who is celebrated and recognizable or who is an authority on the subject
  • A startling statistic
  • A personal story related to the topic

2nd purpose of introduction

After providing the interesting beginning,  use a sentence or two to explain how the attention getter relates to the topic.

3rd purpose of introduction

Write a sentence which introduces the topic.  This is not the thesis statement.  It gives the actual topic and possibly an explanation of why  the topic is worthwhile discussing. It may also explain briefly what importance the topic has in the world today.

4th purpose of introduction

The presentation of the thesis or argumentive claim should be the best written sentence in the paper.  If a writer uses two sentences, he can further state the aspects of the topic that will be discussed to prove the claim.  This the organizational aspect of the paper.  The writer would list the three or four aspects of the argument that he will use to explain and prove his argument.  

Here is an example of an introduction:

The teacher fell down during his teaching in the classroom. He cried out that he was having a heart attack.  Quickly, one of the students called 911.  Within fifteen minutes, the paramedics arrived.  They quickly moved the teacher into the ambulance and headed for the hospital.  Unfortunately, the railroad tracks were blocked by a train which did not move for another twenty minutes.  The teacher died in the ambulance. [This is the attention getting anecdote which introduces and connects to the problem.] A similar loss of life  has occurred three times in Waterford, Iowa, where the train track runs through the middle of the town. [This is the introduction of the actual problem about the loss of life.]  If the ambulance had been able to get the teacher to the hospital, he might have survived. [This is a connecting sentence that explains the importance of the topic.] A bridge overpass needs to be built which bypasses the town, so the townspeople are not held hostage by the trains who travel frequently through the town.[This is the thesis or claim that the writer makes.]  The overpass will be easily constructed on the east side of town, it will be cost effective, and it will save lives. [This is the sentence that explains the order that the aspects of the topic will be discussed.]

The introduction should be written after the body of the paper. Do not neglect the introduction.  It is important that the introduction grab the reader's attention.